The $6-billion reading program at the center of President Bush's signature education law has failed to make a difference in how well children understand what they read, according to a study by the program's own champion, the Department of Education.
Reading First was designed to help boost student performance in low-income elementary schools, but failed to improve reading comprehension, says the study from the Institute of Education Sciences, part of the Department of Education.
There was no difference in comprehension scores between students who participated in Reading First and those who did not, the study found.
The findings released Thursday threw into doubt the future of the program, created as part of the 2002 No Child Left Behind law.
"We need to seriously reexamine this program and figure out how to make it work better for students," said House Education Committee Chairman George Miller (D- Martinez).